AN O-LEVEL pupil at Arundel School in Harare was recently denied access to sit for her Cambridge examination after school authorities claimed she had fees arrears amounting to $44 000 although she had fully paid the examination and centre fees.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The move by the school has now prompted the girl’s mother, Mavis Jakarasi to file an urgent chamber application through Justice for Children, seeking the court’s intervention, arguing that the school had no authority to prevent her child from sitting for examinations. She cited trustees of Arundel School as respondents in the matter.
In her founding affidavit, Jakarasi said her daughter had been a student at the school since the beginning of 2019 and had registered to sit for her Cambridge final Ordinary Level examinations that are currently underway.
However, Jakarasi said due to fees being owed to the school, her daughter was barred from attending lessons since the beginning of the third term.
“Being a trust school, I do understand and accept that the respondent has such a right. The problem arose when my child appeared to sit for her first examination on October 15, 2019, English Paper 2. The respondent (Arundel) school official, the headmistress Pauline Makoni and her officials refused to allow the child to sit for her examination,” Jakarasi said, adding she then approached Justice for Children for assistance and the lawyers issued a letter of demand for the school to allow the child to sit for her examinations, but she was still prevented from doing so.
The woman said she was told that the tuition fee had been raised to $44 000 for the third term and that the amount she owed the school had equally increased on the day her daughter missed her second exam.
Jakarasi said after paying $18 000, her daughter was then allowed to sit for her History examination on October 18, 2019, but on Monday October 21, 2019, she was again barred from writing Mathematics by the headmistress who demanded that she pays the balance first.
“Though I owe the school in arrear tuition, for the school to then bar my child from writing examinations that are not property or a programme of Arundel School, but an independent external examinations body, on the basis of fees I owe to the school is unacceptable,” Jakarasi said
“Cambridge Examinations is an independent body to which I made full payment. That payment includes the examination fee and the centre fee. The child is thus fully paid to use Arundel School as an examination centre. This fact is independent from the child’s registration at Arundel as a student. It is for her studentship at Arundel School that the respondents can bar my child from accessing the school facilities. However, that is not the case with the Cambridge examinations.
All the school is providing and required to provide, is an examination centre with the requisite facilities and personnel.”
The matter is pending.